Friday, June 10, 2011

Vehicle Rear-End Collision Law

In Kastritsios v Marcello, 2011 NY Slip Op 04425 (2d Dept.), the plaintiff while driving her car was allegedly hit in the rear by the defendant driver.  The plaintiff made a motion for summary judgment, arguing that no triable issues of fact exist in regards to the defendant’s liability.  In making the motion the plaintiff provided an affidavit that states that she was hit in the rear by the defendant, and in opposition to the motion the defendant provided an affidavit which stated that plaintiff’s vehicle made a sudden stop.  The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, but the Appellate Division reversed and found for the plaintiff. 

The Court stated the following: “a rear-end collision establishes a prima facie case of negligence on the part of the operator of the rear vehicle, thereby requiring that operator to rebut the inference of negligence by providing a non-negligent explanation for the collision[in this case], the claim that the lead vehicle made a sudden stop, standing alone, is insufficient to rebut the presumption of negligence on the part of the following vehicle.  Accordingly, the Supreme Court erred in denying the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability.”

Salvatore R. Marino, Esq.

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